When you are 22 weeks pregnant, both you and your baby are growing. For your baby, this means that he or she is starting to look like a newborn and that soon, she will be able to survive, if born already. For you, it means a nice baby bump, but also that stretch marks may start to develop.
This article covers fetal development, and mom’s body changes when 22 weeks pregnant.
What to Expect When 22 Weeks Pregnant?
In this article…
How Many Months is 22 Weeks Pregnant?
You are currently in your second trimester and the fifth month of your pregnancy journey.
There are some slight variations in counting your pregnancy weeks and months if you look at different sources.
There is often confusion when it comes to counting the weeks and the months of the pregnancy.
As you know, pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (or 280 days). We also say that it lasts for 9 months.
There is a discrepancy if you think that one month has 4 weeks. That way, it seems that pregnancy actually lasts 10 months. However, a month doesn’t last for 4 weeks, but 4.3 weeks on average. Every month (except for February) has 30 or 31 days.
That is why we say that pregnancy lasts 9 months, although it lasts a bit longer, something like 9 months and one week.
The other source of confusion is the difference between how many weeks/months pregnant you are and what week/month of pregnancy you are in.
Let’s try to explain it this way:
Imagine yourself literally walking through your weeks (day 1, day 2, …, day 7). Let’s say you are now in your sixth week of pregnancy. You are exactly 5 weeks and 3 days pregnant. That means you are currently pregnant for the full 5 weeks plus 3 more days, which means you are in your sixth week. Once you reach 5 weeks and 7 days, you reached the finish line for week 6. You are now full 6 weeks pregnant and are entering your seventh week.
The same is with months. To reach a certain month of pregnancy, you need to complete all the weeks in it fully. For example, if you are in your 5th month of pregnancy, it means you are pregnant for the full 4 months (the months you fully completed), plus a certain number of weeks. After you complete all the weeks in month 5 (4 months + 1/2/3/4 weeks), you will be 5 months pregnant and enter your sixth month.
Your Baby’s Development
How Big is my Baby at 22 Weeks?
The fetal age of your baby is now 20 weeks.
The difference in weeks comes from the difference in gestational and fetal age.
The gestational age is counted from the first day of your last menstrual period. However, in most cases, the conception usually happens approximately two weeks later, during ovulation.
The fetal age is calculated from the date of conception. That is why fetal age is usually two weeks behind the gestational age. However, because it is usually impossible to know when exactly the conception happened, this is the less precise and common way to measure pregnancy.
During the 22nd week of pregnancy, your baby is now approximately 11 inches in length (28 cm), which is the size of a coconut.
At almost a full pound (450 gr), your baby is looking like a miniature newborn more each week, although the main difference is that your little one is still very skinny.
Actually, the earliest ever born baby that survived was born during this pregnancy week. She was exactly 21 weeks and 4 days old. The baby was born in 2014, weighing less than 1 pound (410 grams). The little girl is a miracle because, in general, a child born before 22 full weeks of pregnancy cannot breathe. Even during the 23rd week of pregnancy, survival rates are still in the low 20%-range, but they increase very rapidly as the weeks go by.
What Does my Baby Look Like at 22 Weeks Pregnant?
At this point, there is hair visible on your baby’s head. You can try and imagine how much hair your baby will be born with.
Your baby is gaining weight rapidly, but the skin is still quite wrinkled. It is protected by fine hair called lanugo to help protect the baby within the uterus.
The irises of your little one’s eyes still lack pigment, but you are sure to see those baby blues, or greens, or big browns in no time at all.
Did you know that almost all white babies are born with blue eyes? The final color will develop sometime between 9 months old and 3 years. African and Asian babies, on the other hand, are often born with brown-grey eyes. They become darker during the first year.
Lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are more distinct at this phase of development as well.
At 22 weeks, your baby’s senses are further developing. The sense of sight is improving, and the baby can now perceive the difference between light and dark, even though the eyelids are still closed.
The baby’s hearing is developed enough to hear your heartbeat, your blood circulating, your digestion, as well as your voice.
With the development of the sense of touch, your baby’s grip is getting stronger, and he might grab the umbilical cord. Don’t panic. That is normal.
He is also moving his hands independently and can touch his face or other parts of his body.
During the 22nd pregnancy week, the taste buds continue developing, and with that, the taste preferences develop also. What you eat might now impact what tastes your baby will prefer when born, so make sure you try to eat as healthy and nutritious food as possible.
Inside your baby, the pancreas is developing steadily, which is essential for the production of some important hormones during the lifetime.
The liver has started producing the various enzymes that are necessary to break down bilirubin, which is the result of red blood cells breaking down inside your baby. The fetal red blood cells have a shorter life span, so there is more bilirubin production in your baby than yourself. A too slow reduction of bilirubin is what may cause newborn jaundice for some babies in about 38 weeks.
The lungs are developing rapidly, and your little one is starting to practice breathing.
If you are carrying a boy, his testicles have begun to descend from the pelvis to the scrotum.
Mom’s Body when 22 Weeks Pregnant
The Pregnant Belly
At 22 weeks, your uterus is located about an inch (approx.2.5 cm) above your belly button and growing.
It is possible your doctor started measuring your fundal height.
Fundal height is the distance from your pubic bone to the top of the uterus. If your doctor does measure it, it is to check if the uterus is growing at a healthy rate. At 22 weeks, the fundal height should be 20 to 24 cm.
If you have an innie belly button, the one that dips inward, you might see it pop outward.
The growing uterus puts pressure on your bowels, which might lead to constipation. Eat foods high in fiber and try to be active because it will encourage bowel movements. Increasing the amount of fiber in your food, doing light exercise, and drinking more water is also advisable if you have hemorrhoid problems.
With growth, the uterus might also pressure your blood vessels, which might lead to dizziness. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily.
Because of the amount of fluid in a pregnant woman’s body, your feet and/or hands might get swollen. Even though it might be uncomfortable, minor swelling is normal. However, if you experience severe swelling, you should talk to your doctor because severe swelling might be a sign of preeclampsia.
With your belly growing rapidly and the extra weight you are carrying, backache problems are not unusual.
At 22 weeks, as well as throughout the rest of your pregnancy, you might feel mild contractions and abdominal pain. Most of these pains are normal, and the contractions might be Braxton Hicks contractions. However, if the pain is severe or if you aren’t sure if it’s normal, contact your doctor.
Stretch marks may start to make an appearance now for you in a variety of places. Your belly, buttocks, thighs, and even breasts can bear these common marks of rapid growth.
Some women may experience only a small amount, while others will show an abundance of them in clusters.
Some women will notice changes in their hair during the latter part of pregnancy. Thicker, more lustrous hair growth can be apparent since your body is actually just doing less shedding than it did before your pregnancy. Enjoy – it won’t last (sorry)!
An increase in body hair is one thing that many women do not like, but it is only temporary. Sex hormones known as androgens can cause new hair to sprout in never before seen places such as your chin, upper lip, jaw, and even cheeks.
You may notice that dark line forming from your belly button downward now (the linea nigra) and even have more hair growth on your belly or breasts. While some women prefer to tweeze or wax these hairs away, others just put up with them since it is only temporary and will disappear in time.
Your fingernails can also be noticeably longer due to the many hormones causing rapid growth. If you have always had soft nails, they may become harder, while the opposite can also take effect. The overall texture can also be affected temporarily.
Be sure to protect your nails when cleaning and use a hand moisturizer if you notice them becoming brittle. And put on some nail polish. You won’t have the time and energy for that in a couple of months… ;-)
Things to do and buy this week
Some say there is nothing to do to prevent or mitigate stretch marks. Others swear by creams in particular. Well, no harm in trying! Try Bella B Tummy Honey Butter, for example, or some similar cream or oil.
You might consider starting doing the pelvic exercises. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles might help if you are experiencing urine leakage. It will also help you recover faster after giving birth.
If you haven’t already, you might want to have a look into prenatal classes.
Eat healthy to make sure you don’t gain unnecessary weight. Find information on weight gain during pregnancy week by week here.
- A Parent's Guide to a Confident Birth (This is a FREE class by an experienced labor nurse. If nothing else, sign up for this one!)
- Childbirth Preparation: A Complete Guide for Pregnant Women
- Perfect Pregnancy Guide: Yoga, Meditation, Checkups and More
Week 22 Pregnancy Video
Diary of a Daughter
I was home from work this week, sick. A stomach bug, awful actually!
But my baby didn’t seem to notice; kicked just as much as always!
Are you also 22 weeks pregnant? Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below!
- See what your baby is up to in these fetal development videos
- Healthy eating during pregnancy
- How your breasts change during pregnancy and after
- Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
- Joanne Stone MD and Keith Eddleman MD, The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood
- Nilsson, L; Hamberger, L. A Child Is Born
- Soderberg, L., Mammapraktika. B Wahlstroms.